The Austin Seven was an extremely popular economy car which was introduced and manufactured in the United Kingdom from 1923 to 1939, gaining the nickname of the “Baby Austin”. Much like the American made Ford Model-T, the Austin Seven represented freedom of the open road and the much lusted after ability of being able to go places that you normally wouldn’t be able to via public transportation. For the select people who could afford to purchase and run one at the time, this opened up a whole new world of adventure and excitement.
The Austin Seven was also the very first car to be mass produced in the pedal layout that we are accustomed to today, with the clutch pedal on the left, the brake pedal in the middle and the throttle pedal on the right. By the end of the Seven’s production run in 1939, it had all but eliminated cycle cars and became much more accessible to people of the public.
This little Austin has quite the story to tell. This little car has been up and down the country proving just how reliable it can be on some of the most demanding road rallies.
In 1997, this little Austin completed the John O’Groats to Lands End rally to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Austin Sevens. This rally, depending on the route taken, can be anywhere between 748 - 1,300 miles and has to be done over numerous days with stops in between. This is the ultimate reliability test and today it is still very much relevant - clubs make annual events and drivers sign up to take part of this huge road course to prove how capable their machines are, as well as seeing the beautiful scenery along the way.
In 2002 this Austin completed the Austin 7’s 80th Anniversary Celebration Run on the Isle of Man. It’s safe to say that the car has more than proven itself in terms of reliability when it comes to long periods of driving! An amazing piece of engineering even if it is creeping up to 100 years old. The owner also tells us that it’s done the London to Brighton run three times without a single hiccup. Another astonishing achievement!
On the dashboard you’ll notice there is a plaque stating that the car ascended the Brooklands test Hill in September 1996 in a time of 21 seconds, as well as another plaque showcasing the car competed at Boness Revival back in 2019 completing its stage in 52 seconds! This isn’t just a car for endurance, you can certainly have a lot of fun with it too!
The current owner states he has in his possession the original paperwork for the car such as the original registration book which was stamped in the year of 1932, it even indicated that the road tax at the time was £30, which is shockingly the equivalent of just over £2,000 in today’s money!
The current owner also has the relevant DVLA documentation to proceed with the sale of the vehicle. We’re led to believe that this car has quite a nice papertrail to go along with it.
Classically simplistic. There isn’t a lot going on in the interior, but maybe that’s what feels so appealing and welcoming about it. There’s something soothing about not being overpowered with buttons, switches, screens and gauges. In the Austin it really is back to basics, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The leather seats are in extremely good condition for their age, with no signs of any rips and tears, the stitching also looks like it’s holding up very well. The leather door panels and pull-handles are also in great condition, all the stitching is intact and the door pockets are still in perfect working order! The steering wheel and dashboard are in great condition and the floor carpets are still in one piece with little signs of wear for a car of its age.
The dashboard consists of a very interesting Patent list of components which the car is fitted with, along with the ignition switch and some gauges which include the speedometer, battery meter, oil pressure and petrol gauge. See? Simples.
The inside of the convertible roof is in great condition, the metal arms all still function with minimal effort and the wooden brace that runs across the rear of the hood shows no signs of rotting or degradation. Sure to keep you dry on those rainy days.
The outside of this car has aged beautifully, with telltale signs that it has lived a very full life and has been used in the way the Austin car company intended. The patina on this car represents its provenance, and that is something we believe should be cherished and protected. The arches do have some cracks and of course there are imperfections throughout the paintwork, but for a near century old car that’s been on numerous road rallies, it certainly is very well kept. The panel work is straight with no signs of accident damage, and all the light lenses front and back are seemingly free of damage.
The front windscreen is free of any cracks and also still functions as it should, the winged screws which allow the window to pivot move without resistance and still look in fantastic condition. The window wiper mechanism also still functions flawlessly, no electronics here, just a manually operated lever to drag the petite windscreen wiper back and forth. The temperature gauge, which is mounted at the most forward point of the vehicle on the front grill, can still be seen clearly with very little fading of the printed text inside the housing.
A small tear on the convertible top protective cover is apparent on the drivers side of the vehicle which seems to be the only noticeable damage, however the convertible top itself is free of any tears and still functions perfectly, slotting into the locating pins above the windscreen without any issues or force.
There will of course be cleaner and more refined Austin Seven’s out there in the market, but most of them bear no story to tell and no character to flaunt. Charisma oozes from every seam of this car, showcasing it’s undaunted lifestyle with the rally stickers on the front windscreen. A nice touch, and a great conversation starter.
There’s nothing to grumble about here. The baby Austin starts and drives today like it would back in the 30’s, and what a feeling it is getting it to turn over with a good ‘ol hand crack! The owner tells us that within his time with the vehicle, the rear driveshafts were renewed to help with peace of mind as well as the rear brake cables, the car has never needed any major work. All electronics were converted from 6V to 12V to greatly improve the reliability, as with 6V electrical systems a small voltage drop can cause huge problems. The 12V conversion also allows for smaller, more modern lightweight batteries and is fitted with an isolation switch to be compliant with any MSA historic competition guidelines.
This Austin came equipped with the 747cc engine producing a whopping 10.5bhp with a top speed of 50mph, as well as a more modern ignition coil as opposed to the magneto used in models before 1928. This 747cc engine uses a two-bearing crankshaft which is a little less smooth than the later model three-bearing units, however, owners preach that they’re much more reliable. These also use a low-pressure oil system which only requires as little as 4psi when the engine is warm. Models after the 1930’s also had the front and rear brakes coupled together, which means the brake pedal helped slow all 4 wheels.
The chassis number and engine numbers all match up. You can rest easy at night knowing this car still has its original components and not compiled of a pick’n’mix of parts, matching serial numbers is very uncommon for cars of this era and a very desirable title to hold.
There is something to be admired about this car. It reflects a very adventurous lifespan and it’s a testament to how well these vehicles are built. We’re all for people wishing to preserve cars and keep them hidden in a garage, but we can’t help but feel there’s something very special about a car that gets used for what it was intended to do. It shows proof of how capable and reliable it can be, and we have no doubt that this little Austin will continue to adventure to new places with its new owner for many more years to come.
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